Thomas R. Hampson – Founder, Truth Alliance Foundation
My interest in protecting children dates back more than three and a half decades. At that time, the late 70’s, I was the Chief Investigator for a statewide investigative agency when we were directed to look into the problem of the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
For the next eight years we looked into thousands of cases of child prostitution, child pornography, incest, child abuse and neglect, child murders, and every other crime against children. We interviewed hundreds of experts—psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, doctors, teachers, prosecutors, judges, police—all over the country and reviewed thousands of studies on these various related issues.
We also went after the predators directly. One part of our investigation was the development of an undercover approach to proactively build criminal cases against child sexual predators. We were successful in that effort. In fact, our approach was picked up by other investigative agencies. Gradually, police all over the United States adopted our model and when the internet started to grow, the model was adapted for the web and today law enforcement agencies all over the world use the methods we developed. Every year thousands of predators are caught, prosecuted and sent to prison using these proactive measures.
After the initial investigations in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and after I started up my own investigation business, I continued to be confronted by cases that involved child sexual abuse throughout my career. Then in 2006 I was asked by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to conduct an investigation into the problem of predator priests in Illinois.
One of the things that I quickly learned was that whatever success law enforcement has had in catching child sexual predators, it has not been nearly enough. While thousands are being taken off the street every year, tens of thousands are taking their place. Law enforcement is losing the battle. Discovering that was discouraging. We all thought our efforts decades ago would have had more of an impact.
Additionally, while I thought the child sexual predators that we had investigated back in the late 70’s and 80’s were bad, these priests, and their ilk who prowl our places of worship and prey on children seeking a relationship with God are even worse. Not only did they damage the children emotionally, but their evil acts severely damage the spiritual well being of these children and their families as well.
It was this investigation that prompted me to establish the Truth Alliance Foundation and to dedicate the rest of my life to the protection of children. My hope is that the TAF will survive long after me and will expand to facilitate the protection of children all over the United States and around the world.
But to be successful a new approach is needed. While law enforcement has an important role, there are too many predators to investigate and lock up. We need to educate people about how to identify child sexual predators and keep them away from children. And we need to know the signs to look for to recognize children who are being abused so we can expedite their rescue. The Truth Alliance Foundation has developed a unique approach to do just that.
I hope you’ll join us in this cause.